0131-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 31 Jan 2018, Wednesday

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Constructed by: Josh Radnor & Jeff Chen
Edited by: Will Shortz

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Today’s Theme: Premeditated

There is a note with today’s puzzle:

CELEBRITY CROSSWORD
This puzzle is a collaboration by the actor Josh Radnor, the star of the CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother,” as well as the writer/director of two films (to date), working together with Jeff Chen, a writer in Seattle. This is Jeff’s 80th crossword for The Times.
More information about the making of today’s puzzle appears in the Times’s daily crossword column (nytimes.com/column/wordplay).

Themed answers are common phrases with the letters OM added to the front. “OM” is a chant often used when meditating:

  • 50A. Calculated … or a punny hint to 18-, 24-, 32- and 44-Across : PREMEDITATED
  • 18A. Some wonderful times in Nebraska? : OMAHA MOMENTS (“Om” + “aha moments”)
  • 24A. Good name for politico Martin’s jazz band? : O’MALLEY CATS (“Om” + “alley cats”)
  • 32A. Portentous fashion magazine? : OMEN VOGUE (“Om” + “en vogue”)
  • 44A. Makes an unabridged humor book? : OMITS NO JOKE (“Om” + “it’s no joke”)

Bill’s time: 7m 48s

Bill’s errors: 0

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Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

9. Company that acquired Zipcar in 2013 : AVIS

Zipcar is a carsharing company. Carsharing differs from car rental in that cars are available only to members, but 24 hours a day as opposed to office hours. There are other differences, including the fact that members are usually responsible for leaving cars gassed up and clean for the next user.

13. Emulates the teacher in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” : DRONES ON

It was Ben Stein who played the most famous of the teachers in the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”.

“Bueller? …Bueller? …Bueller?”
Anyone? Anyone?

“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is one of my favorite movies of all time. It was written and directed by John Hughes and released in 1986. There are so many classic scenes in the film, including two wonderful musical interludes. The more sedate of these is a vignette shot in the Art Institute of Chicago that is beautifully filmed. The more upbeat musical scene is a rendition of “Twist and Shout” during a Von Steuben Day parade.

16. Women rush to get into it : SORORITY

A rush is a drive by a fraternity or sorority to recruit new members on campus.

17. Hit it! : PINATA

Piñatas originated in Mexico, probably among the Aztecs or Mayans. Today piñatas are usually made from cardboard that is brightly decorated with papier-mâché. Traditionally a piñata was made out of a clay pot, adorned with feathers and ribbons and filled with small treasures. During religious ceremonies the clay pots would be suspended and broken open so that the contents would spill out onto the ground at the feet of a god as an offering.

18. Some wonderful times in Nebraska? : OMAHA MOMENTS (“Om” + “aha moments”)

Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska. It is located on the Missouri River, about 10 miles north of the mouth of the Platte River When Nebraska was still a territory Omaha was its capital, but when Nebraska achieved statehood the capital was moved to the city of Lincoln.

20. ___ walk : PERP

When a crime suspect in the custody of the police is walked through a public place, often to and from a courthouse, it is known as a “perp walk”.

24. Good name for politico Martin’s jazz band? : O’MALLEY CATS (“Om” + “alley cats”)

Martin O’Malley served as Governor of Maryland from 2007 to 2015. He tried for the Democratic nomination for US president in the 2016 election, but had to drop out after 8 months having garnered relatively little support. O’Malley is quite the musician, and has played guitar and penny whistle with the Baltimore-based Celtic rock band O’Malley’s March since 1988.

30. Small version of a popular cookie : MINI OREO

Bite-sized Oreo cookies were introduced in 1991 under the brand name Mini Oreo. Mini Oreos were dropped in the late nineties, but reintroduced in 2000 as part of a promotion for the Dodge Caravan. They’re still around, and you can now even get a mint version.

31. Untouchable leader : NESS

Eliot Ness was the Treasury agent charged with the task of bringing down the notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone. When Ness took on the job in 1930, Chicago law-enforcement agents were renowned for being corrupt, for being on the take. Ness handpicked 50 prohibition agents who he thought he could rely on, later reducing the group to a cadre of 15 and ultimately just 11 trusted men. That group of 11 earned the nickname “The Untouchables”, the agents who couldn’t be bought.

32. Portentous fashion magazine? : OMEN VOGUE (“Om” + “en vogue”)

“Vogue” magazine has been published an awfully long time, with the first issue appearing in 1892. Over the decades the magazine has picked up a lot of criticism as well as its many fans. Famously, an assistant to the editor wrote a novel based on her experiences working with the magazine’s editor, and called it “The Devil Wears Prada”.

36. Poetic Ireland : ERIN

“Éire”, is the Irish word for “Ireland”. The related “Erin” is an anglicized version of “Éire” and actually corresponds to “Éirinn”, the dative case of “Éire”.

39. Letters : EPISTLES

By definition, an epistle is a writing sent by one person to a group of people, with the name “epistle” coming from the Greek word for “a letter”. The 21 epistles of the New Testament are letters from various of the Apostles to groups of Christians, with most of them being written by Paul.

43. Actor Cariou : LEN

Len Cariou is a Canadian actor who is famous for his Broadway portrayal of “Sweeney Todd”. I most recognize him from supporting roles in “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Thirteen Days”, two great movies.

47. Multi-armed mollusk : OCTOPOD

The name “octopus” comes from the Greek for “eight-footed”. The most common plural used is “octopuses”, although the Greek plural form “octopodes” is also quite correct. The plural “octopi” isn’t really correct as the inference is that “octopus” is like a second-declension Latin noun, which it isn’t. That said, dictionaries are now citing “octopi” as an acceptable plural. Language does evolve, even though it drives me crazy …

49. Lead-in to mensch : UBER-

Ubermensch is an aspirational concept in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. Translating from German as “above-human”, Nietzsche suggested that Ubermensch is a goal for humanity to set itself.

50. Calculated … or a punny hint to 18-, 24-, 32- and 44-Across : PREMEDITATED

“Om” is a sacred mystic word from the Hindu tradition. “Om” is sometimes used as a mantra, a focus for the mind in meditation.

55. Pushkin’s “___ Onegin” : EUGENE

“Eugene Onegin” is a novel by the Russian author Alexander Pushkin. The novel is unusual in that it is written in verse form. “Eugene Onegin” was adapted into an opera of the same name by Pyotr Tchaikovsky.

60. “Dirty Harry” director Don : SIEGEL

“Dirty” Harry Callahan was the protagonist in a series of five movies starring Clint Eastwood:

  • “Dirty Harry” (1971)
  • “Magnum Force” (1973)
  • “The Enforcer” (1976)
  • “Sudden Impact” (1983)
  • “The Dead Pool” (1988)

Down

1. Has too much, for short : ODS

Overdose (OD)

3. A word between the two A’s in N.A.A.C.P. : FOR

The full name of the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is remarkable in that it actually still uses the offensive term “colored people”. The NAACP was founded in 1909, by a group that included suffragette and journalist Mary White Ovington, wealthy socialist William English Walling, and civil rights activist Henry Moscowitz. Another member of the founding group was W. E. B. Du Bois, the first African-American to earn a doctorate at Harvard University. The date chosen for the founding of the NAACP was February 12th, 1909, the 100th anniversary of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln, the man most visibly associated with the emancipation of African-American slaves.

4. Reggae persona for a noted rapper : SNOOP LION

The rap star Snoop Dogg’s real name is Cordozar Calvin Broadus. He is the most famous protege of the notorious rapper Dr. Dre. Sadly, Snoop Dogg has had numerous run-ins with police all round the world, even after he started to live the good life that came with his fame. Snoop Dogg has also been known as “Snoop Doggy Dogg”, and more recently as “Snoop Lion”.

6. Area traversed by Marco Polo : ASIA

Marco Polo was a merchant from Venice and a famous traveler throughout Asia. Polo journeyed with his father and uncle on an epic tour of Central Asia and China that lasted 24 years. Marco tends to be the member of the party we remember today though, because it was he who documented their travels in a book called “Il Milione”.

7. Sort of person heavily into eyeliner : GOTH

The goth subculture developed from the gothic rock scene in the early eighties, and is a derivative of the punk music movement. It started in England and spread to many countries around the globe. The term “goth” comes from the Eastern Germanic tribe called the Goths.

8. One-named New Age singer : ENYA

Enya’s real name is Eithne Ní Bhraonáin, which can translate from Irish into Enya Brennan. Her Donegal family (in the northwest of Ireland) formed a band called Clannad, which included Enya. In 1980 Enya launched her very successful solo career, eventually becoming Ireland’s best-selling solo musician. And, she sure does turn up a lot in crosswords!

10. Transports for Tarzan : VINES

Liana (also “liane”) is the name give to a vine that generally grows in moist areas such as rain forests. Lianas grow using the trees in the forest as structural support. My bet is that Tarzan swung from tree to tree on liana vines …

11. Sir Walter Scott novel : IVANHOE

Sir Walter Scott was a Scottish novelist and playwright, the first English-language author to gain popularity around the world during his own lifetime. The most famous of his works are “Ivanhoe”, “Rob Roy” and “The Lady of the Lake”.

12. “English” and “Irish” canines : SETTERS

The breeds of dog known as setters are all gundogs and are used in hunting game.

19. Aid in climbing the corp. ladder : MBA

The world’s first Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree was offered by Harvard’s Graduate School of Business Administration, in 1908.

20. Juice brand with a distinctive bottle : POM

POM Wonderful is a privately-held company that has been making fruit juice drinks since 2002. The main product line is pomegranate juice, hence the company name.

21. Virgin ___ (record label) : EMI

Virgin EMI Records is a label that formed in 2013 with the merger of Mercury Records UK and Virgin Records. The list of artists recording with Virgin EMI includes Justin Bieber, Elton John, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney, U2, Willie Nelson and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

22. Kurosawa’s adaptation of “King Lear” : RAN

“Ran” is a 1985 Japanese-French film directed by Akira Kurosawa that is in part based on William Shakespeare’s play “King Lear”. The movie tells of an aging warlord who steps down in favor of his three sons. The title translates from Japanese “Chaos” or “Rebellion”.

Akira Kurosawa was an Oscar-winning Japanese film director. His most famous movie to us in the West has to be “The Seven Samurai”, the inspiration for “The Magnificent Seven” starring Yul Brynner, and indeed a basis for “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”.

25. Herbert of the “Pink Panther” movies : LOM

Herbert Lom was a Czech film actor best known for playing Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus in the series of “Pink Panther” movies. He was born in Prague in 1917, and had his first film role in a Czech film. Lom moved to England in 1939, and made many appearances in British movies. He also worked for many years in Hollywood, and played the King of Siam in the original London production of “The King and I”.

27. Itch : YEN

The word “yen”, meaning “urge”, has been around in English since the very early 1900s. It comes from the earlier word “yin” imported from Chinese, which was used in English to describe an intense craving for opium.

31. Court officials whose jobs have now been replaced by technology : NET JUDGES

That would be tennis.

34. Spirit once made in bathtubs : GIN

The term “bathtub gin” is used for any spirit that is made by an amateur. The term arose during the days of prohibition. Gin was the most popular drink in the twenties and cheap version of gin were made by mixing grain alcohol with water and flavorings. The gin bottles were too tall to be topped off with water from a sink faucet, and so a bathtub tap was used instead. Hence, “bathtub gin”.

35. Tour grp. : USO

The United Service Organization (USO) was founded in 1941 at the request of FDR “to handle the on-leave recreation of the men in the armed forces”. A USO tour is undertaken by a troupe of entertainers, many of whom are big-name celebrities. A USO tour usually includes troop locations in combat zones.

38. It has no point : INTEGER

An integer is a number that does not include a fraction. The word “integer” is Latin for “whole”.

42. Être : French :: ___ : Spanish : SER

The verb “to be” is “ser” in Spanish and “être” in French.

46. Mean Amin : IDI

Idi Amin ruled Uganda as a dictator from 1971 until 1979. Amin started his professional career as a cook in the Colonial British Army. Amin seized power from President Milton Obote in a 1971 coup d’état. The former cook eventually gave himself the title “His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular”.

48. Symbol for the resistance? : OMEGA

The unit of electrical resistance is the ohm (with the symbol omega) named after German physicist Georg Simon Ohm. Ohm was the guy who established experimentally that the amount of current flowing through a circuit is directly proportional to the voltage applied, (V=IR) a relationship that every school kid knows as Ohm’s Law.

54. Singer Franklin who was Aretha’s elder sister : ERMA

Erma Franklin was an R&B and gospel singer. She was the elder sister of Aretha Franklin. Erma toured with Aretha for a while, and even recorded backup vocals on her sister’s big hit “Respect”.

57. Lifesaving locales, for short : ERS

Emergency room (ER)

58. Word on many a wedding announcement : NEE

“Née” is the French word for “born” when referring to a female. The male equivalent is “né”.

59. Bank offerings, for short : CDS

A certificate of deposit (CD) is like a less-flexible and higher-paying savings account. Instead of depositing money into a savings account and earning interest periodically, one can open a CD. With a CD one deposits a minimum amount of money but must leave it there for a specified length of time. In return for committing the funds for a fixed period, one is given a higher interest rate than a savings account and can redeem that interest and the initial deposit when the term has expired. CDs are relatively low-risk investments as they are FDIC insured, just like savings accounts.

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1. Not seen by the theater audience : OFFSTAGE
9. Company that acquired Zipcar in 2013 : AVIS
13. Emulates the teacher in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” : DRONES ON
14. Speak partly through the nose : SNIVEL
16. Women rush to get into it : SORORITY
17. Hit it! : PINATA
18. Some wonderful times in Nebraska? : OMAHA MOMENTS (“Om” + “aha moments”)
20. ___ walk : PERP
23. Brief encounters, as with the law : BRUSHES
24. Good name for politico Martin’s jazz band? : O’MALLEY CATS (“Om” + “alley cats”)
29. Extraction target, often : ORE
30. Small version of a popular cookie : MINI OREO
31. Untouchable leader : NESS
32. Portentous fashion magazine? : OMEN VOGUE (“Om” + “en vogue”)
36. Poetic Ireland : ERIN
39. Letters : EPISTLES
43. Actor Cariou : LEN
44. Makes an unabridged humor book? : OMITS NO JOKE (“Om” + “it’s no joke”)
47. Multi-armed mollusk : OCTOPOD
49. Lead-in to mensch : UBER-
50. Calculated … or a punny hint to 18-, 24-, 32- and 44-Across : PREMEDITATED
55. Pushkin’s “___ Onegin” : EUGENE
56. Vitamin brand with a hyphen between its last two letters : EMERGEN-C
60. “Dirty Harry” director Don : SIEGEL
61. Kept on the down-low? : SIMMERED
62. Like much folk music: Abbr. : TRAD
63. Important stat for QBs : TD PASSES

Down

1. Has too much, for short : ODS
2. To’s opposite : FRO
3. A word between the two A’s in N.A.A.C.P. : FOR
4. Reggae persona for a noted rapper : SNOOP LION
5. Politician’s time : TERM
6. Area traversed by Marco Polo : ASIA
7. Sort of person heavily into eyeliner : GOTH
8. One-named New Age singer : ENYA
9. Personal enmity : ANIMUS
10. Transports for Tarzan : VINES
11. Sir Walter Scott novel : IVANHOE
12. “English” and “Irish” canines : SETTERS
14. Wear : SPORT
15. Lads’ loves : LASSES
19. Aid in climbing the corp. ladder : MBA
20. Juice brand with a distinctive bottle : POM
21. Virgin ___ (record label) : EMI
22. Kurosawa’s adaptation of “King Lear” : RAN
25. Herbert of the “Pink Panther” movies : LOM
26. Before, in poetry : ERE
27. Itch : YEN
28. Extremely fancy? : COVET
31. Court officials whose jobs have now been replaced by technology : NET JUDGES
33. Special ___ : OPS
34. Spirit once made in bathtubs : GIN
35. Tour grp. : USO
36. Runs off (with) : ELOPES
37. New enlistee : RECRUIT
38. It has no point : INTEGER
40. High ball : LOB
41. Squeeze (out) : EKE
42. Être : French :: ___ : Spanish : SER
44. Had a first night in a theater : OPENED
45. Wear on a runway : MODEL
46. Mean Amin : IDI
48. Symbol for the resistance? : OMEGA
51. Try : TEST
52. In the thick of : AMID
53. Day worker : TEMP
54. Singer Franklin who was Aretha’s elder sister : ERMA
57. Lifesaving locales, for short : ERS
58. Word on many a wedding announcement : NEE
59. Bank offerings, for short : CDS

14 thoughts on “0131-18 NY Times Crossword Answers 31 Jan 2018, Wednesday”

  1. 22:27. I got the theme thanks to having seen OM-ish answers in other crosswords – usually with something yoga related in the cluing. Pretty clever actually.

    I thought of LIANA as well instead of VINES as I’ve seen it in crosswords past, but the plural in the clue gave it away.

    I wonder which there are more of – grains of sand in the Sahara desert or different crossword clues for OREO? Hmmm…

    Best –

  2. 27:54 I really struggled with this one before finally gettIng it. I had all of the left side but didn’t know what was going on with the themers so couldn’t get the right. Also had trouble with some of the downs on that side. I don’t get the OMENVOGUE answer. The magazine is called Vogue, not En Vogue.

  3. 20:04, no errors. Had difficulty finding the link to todays syndicated puzzle. As for the puzzle, itself: got bogged down in the center section, particularly after putting Snoop Dogg in 4D. It’s hard to not hear about Snoop Dogg, but I have not heard of SNOOP LION.

  4. This is one time when I can say that the theme was absolutely critical. I had not understood the theme right down to the bitter end with only two letters remaining. Specifically, the first two letters of OMENVOGUE. Somehow at the last moment it dawned on me and I realized how the other three theme answers were all preceded with OM. So the fill was made for no errors but it was a squeaker.

  5. Very clever, fun theme, and got it early enough, but mucked up two of the themers by interpreting “Extremely fancy” clue as lOVEs instead of COVET. (Pretty clueless of me, I know.)

  6. “Oh NO!”, I said when I saw the familiar block of intro copy heralding another Celebrity Crossword. After a brief thought of just skipping it today, knowing these albatrosses were the bane of my existence last year…. I gave a sigh and dove in.

    16:34, and 2 errors, where ERMA meets EMERGEN-C. Found the punny theme annoying and groan-worthy (which is supposed to be the point, huh?).

    1. I am not a fan of these “Celebrity Crosswords” either, Allen. But it is possible to just simply ignore it. So far as I have ever been able to determine, it makes absolutely no difference to the puzzle itself. If I had never been told there was a “celebrity”, I would have never been the wiser.

  7. En Vogue is both a musical group started in 1996 and still going and a French phrase meaning in style. I don’t think they meant the magazine.

    1. @eurekajoe – yes, the Vogue magazine was written right into the clue (fashion magazine). The portentous part alludes to seeing the future, hence “omen”.
      Enjoyable puzzle for a Wednesday.

  8. @Marc/eurekajoe/Robert –
    Just to clarify, you need to remember the theme. OMENVOGUE is the punny answer which is indeed referring to the magazine, Vogue. The “common phrase” itself (remember the theme…”Common phrases with OM put in front…[which alters the meaning]”) is only referring to the phrase “EN VOGUE” and not the magazine. Same is true for all the themed entries…e.g. OMAHA and AHA moments aren’t the same thing….

    OMEN VOGUE is referring to the magazine. The phrase they used for the punny theme entry, EN VOGUE, is not. That’s the theme….They ad OM to change it…

    Bill sure makes putting these themes into words seem easy….

    Best –

  9. I also had these same thoughts about the OMENVOGUE. One way out of it that I thought of was that EN VOGUE might be the name of a different magazine than just plain VOGUE. After all, the clue only says “magazine” and does not necessarily mean the one-and-only VOGUE magazine. But to take it one step further, if a start-up magazine were to have the audacity to entitle itself as EN VOGUE then I think they would be asking for a lawsuit for copyright infringement. So I think that the constructors and editor simply goofed on this one but that they could be technically correct.

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